Today it's both exciting and intimidating that a 16-year-old can become a billionaire overnight with the sale of his photo-sharing site to Yahoo, or that a government could reduce or limit the nuclear production of another government without the move of a human or military asset. New and emerging technologies, such as the 3rd Platform, are leading many of the changes that we are seeing in the world today. Not only that, but they are challenging traditional business models and requiring companies to think differently--or go out of business altogether. With that said, it is--without a doubt--an incredible time to be in the technology industry. Let’s take a deeper look at some possible disrupt0rs across the industry today.
I recently read about a startup that is trying to redefine the credit industry. Traditional financial institutions are being challenged to react to the different models of this company, which is getting its funding from Crowdfunding. The company isn't confined by the limitations of the banking industry, and can provide more efficient and simple service as it redefines the credit concept.
As for the education sector, one popular platform, Coursera, just reached a valuation of 500M and currently has more than 16M users. Challenging the current models in the education sector, Coursera provides a search option that lets users find content offered by top universities and organizations around the world. Users can take the courses online and receive certifications, opening the door for a very elaborate and solid education--at any time, in any place and for a very low cost.
Also, think about how the security market and companies offering alarm monitoring services are being disrupted and have been forced to change recently. They are now being replaced by startups that integrate cameras with sensors, dynamic images and noise analytics to provide more sound security to consumers all through technology.
One sector you may have personally felt disruption in is the healthcare industry. Medical patient management and treatment have begun to change with cognitive computing and pattern identification. For example, why would a patient physically go to the doctor if he or she could interact with the physician through videoconferencing and connected sensors--technology that could provide doctors with all of the information they need while receiving faster and more accurate results?
As you may have noticed, we are not just debating what the possible disrupters are, we are discussing how they have already disrupted. While researching all of the case studies above--as well as a few new or establish ed companies that are disrupting current business models--I found some correlating elements. For example:
- They reinvent or redefine the business model, understanding the disruption that the technology can introduce to all models. In fact, many of those innovations came from a “frustration.” For example, Uber came to be because the founder couldn’t find a taxi in Paris.
- They introduce a new , highly efficient and highly automated operational model.
- They reduce the need for significant physical assets in exchange for available virtual resources or assets from third parties. They connect suppliers and customers; they connect the elements of ecosystems.
- They introduce high variable cost models and benefit sharing models. They are the central point of exchange in their business model.
- They are significantly scalable and flexible, but also preserve intimacy and personalization. This is the beauty of the Internet: Mobility and personalized service by data analysis and pattern identification.
- They introduce instant satisfaction on the access and delivery of their value proposition to all, providing a great customer experience. Also, ratings make a difference to consumers by providing a natural "Charles Darwin selection" between the players and the best cost-value relationships.
- They address ecosystem problems (end-to-end solutions), and usually are the center of the ecosystem or the enabler of the ecosystem. They also have in common that they are connecting people together, suppliers and customers, and act as the point of contact or interaction. They are the equivalent of NASDAQ for the stock market.
- They eliminate the concept of permanent value for a concept of incremental value and circles of innovation. Constant releases of new and best services.
- They approach the market with incremental content functionality, value creation and POC validations.
- They use many types of crowdsourcing in different matters (people, customer experience, feedback, funding, development, etc.).
- They are omnipresent. They are participating in other ecosystems, providing easy integration and multichannel contact models, and are using social media on a massive scale.
- They challenge, on many occasions, the current regulations of their industries.
Connecting people and creating ecosystems have more value now than ever, and are the key to success, but very few will succeed and capture the market. The others will be challenged or disrupted, as we discussed above.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently said, “We are disrupting ourselves, we’re not trying to preserve a model of yesterday.” And nothing could be truer in the IT industry today. Either be part of the unique opportunities found in this process of transformation, or remain with the businesses that are not aware of the impact that technology could offer them. In conclusion, in this amazing time, it is your choice to be in a position to disrupt or be disrupted.